Don’t rely on all-in-one tech solutions, it’s time to go best of breed

As an integration provider, Patchworks has been granted a view into the many mistakes ecommerce companies make from the sidelines. We can connect your tech stack, but we can’t make the decision for you on what you integrate.

We can, however, share with you our expertise and experience that we’ve collected over the years helping clients run a smooth operation.

And one thing we’ve found is that moving away from a suite-based approach tends to net greater benefits for our clients as they’re able to better customise ecommerce integration platform their platform with best of breed software.

Here’s why we think you should consider taking a best of breed approach to your ecommerce operation.

What is best of breed?

To go ‘best of breed’ means to find individual vendors which offer specialised software solutions for specific problems. For example, a company which offers alternative payment options for your customers and has a strong record of delivering results.

That’s separate to the suite-based approach many ecommerce companies opt for, which provides businesses with a range of services and software solutions addressing a variety of problems.

It’s easy to see why many companies go for a software suite. By having an all-in-one package you don’t need to worry about spending time researching and picking out individual vendors.

And by connecting a large number of independent software vendors to your platform, you can run the risk of your solutions not communicating well with each other. Integrating systems which otherwise have no relation to each other can be a difficult and lengthy process.

However, with the right approach and integration partner, you can eliminate the risks and reap the benefits.

The benefits of best of breed

We know what you might be thinking: our suite-based approach is working fine for us, why should I go through the hassle of restructuring our tech stack?

But there’s plenty of reasons why going best of breed could be the right choice for your company.

It offers specialised solutions 

Everyone has their own skills, and as the saying goes, ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.

That’s simplifying things somewhat – there’s software suites out there which have some great features. But overall, you’ll find that companies which focus on developing one single service will offer more features, more quality, and more expertise for any of your queries about their particular focus.

And because they specialise in one area, they’re typically at the forefront of innovation for what they do. Some legacy suite providers will have outdated solutions in certain areas, putting you at a disadvantage compared to competitors who may have a more expensive suite or have chosen best of breed.

That also goes for updates, too. Focusing on just one piece of software means all of their resources will be focused on constantly improving that service.

Reduced cost risk

It makes sense why software suites are more expensive than integrating a best of breed vendor; you’re investing in a set of multiple solutions as opposed to just one. By that metric, you’re getting good value for money.

But there’s a hidden danger in using a suite. You’re paying a lot of money for something which isn’t guaranteed to work well with your operation; if you integrate a suite, but don’t like it, it’s much harder and more expensive to reverse that decision.

A best of breed vendor, on the other hand, offers more flexibility and safety when building your tech stack. First of all, many will offer free demos which are much quicker and easier to experience with just one area of the business.

Also, even if you do decide that software solution isn’t right for you, you’ve paid much less money for it and can swap it out for another vendor with minimal hassle.

Improved ROI

Having a specialist tool naturally boosts your ROI through numerous means. The most obvious being what we’ve already outlined; a solution which addresses a specific problem and excels at that area is naturally going to be better than one segment of a suite which doesn’t explicitly specialise in, say, personalisation software.

And those ROI increases are particularly evident with software solutions aimed at improving a website for its customers. In fact, companies  ween a suite of five software solutions, and integrating five separate best of breed vendors. The suite might cost slightly less, but if even one of those solutions is subpar, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage and impacting your bottom line.

On the other hand, partnering with five different vendors may be more expensive at the initial stage – but you’ll quickly get a return on your investment as each individual part outperforms the alternatives.

Integrating best of breed

Regardless of whether you go best of breed or stick with a suite based approach, data integrations are an essential part of ecommerce success.

One of the biggest challenges of going best of breed is the potential complexity of those connections; when integrating a suite, every application is already designed to work together and communicate with each other. But with individual vendors, you need to make sure your integrations are diligently set up to avoid inefficiencies.

The best way to do that is to outsource your data connections to an integration provider, such as Patchworks.

Patchworks has years of experience in the ecommerce industry and a portfolio of hundreds of partners to help you get set up quickly with whatever software solution you need.